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As gross as it may seem, our dog’s poop can be an insightful window into our furry friend’s health. Any changes in the consistency, color, and even your dog’s normal pooping routine can indicate a problem. Obviously, one of the most alarming changes is a dog pooping blood. If you’ve found blood in your dog’s stool, we can help you identify possible causes and know when it’s time to contact your veterinarian.
Types Of Blood In A Dog’s Stool
Blood in your dog’s stool isn’t always as obvious as you might think. It can appear in several different forms. And the color and consistency help us determine where the blood is coming from in our dog’s digestive system. Technically, there are two types of bloody stool: melena and hematochezia.
Hematochezia: Bright Red Blood
Hematochezia is a term veterinarians use to describe bright red blood in a dog’s stool. This bleeding originates in the lower digestive tract, including the colon, rectum, or anus. Hematochezia most often occurs with diarrhea, ranging anywhere from an entirely liquid to a softly formed consistency.
In some cases, a mixture of mucus and red blood covers the formed stool. If a dog’s GI system is empty of food, he could also poop out only blood. Dogs with hematochezia typically need to defecate more frequently than they normally do.
Melena: Dark, Jelly-Like Blood
Melena refers to blood in a dog’s stool that appears dark to almost black with a sticky, jelly-like consistency. This blood appears dark because it’s been digested, which suggests that the source of bleeding is in the upper digestive tract, including the stomach or upper intestine.
With melena, the stool is usually more solid than with hematochezia. If you notice dark, tarry stool and can’t tell if it contains blood, wipe it on a tissue or paper towel. If the wiped poop appears reddish, then your pup likely has melena.
Why Is My Dog Pooping Blood?
So, what causes blood in dog stool? The type of bloody poop your pup has can sometimes help narrow down the cause. But some factors can cause either hematochezia or melena. These include:
- Sudden dietary changes
- Food allergies or intolerances
- Ingestion of a toxic substance or a foreign object
- Intestinal parasites, like Giardia or hookworms
- Infections like parvovirus
- Trauma to the lower or upper GI tract
- Cancer or tumors
Red Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs
Bright red bloody stool doesn’t always indicate a problem. For example, if you notice a tiny bit of red blood if your dog’s poop but his stool is otherwise normal, this could just be one-time happenstance. However, it’s still a good idea to contact your vet to be on the safe side. On the other hand, larger amounts of blood and/or recurring bloody stool can be a sign of a health issue.
Possible causes of hematochezia include:
- Colitis (inflammation of the colon)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Impacted or infected anal glands
- Constipation or straining to poop
Dog Poop Like Jelly With Blood
Melena results from digested or swallowed blood, so trauma to the mouth or dental problems, like advanced gum disease, could be the culprit. Make sure you check your pup’s mouth for any oral bleeding.
Other possible causes of melena include:
- Stomach ulcers
- Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Addison’s disease
- Hormonal imbalances
- Clotting disorders, like von Willebrand’s Disease
- Adverse reactions to some medications
When Is Bloody Stool An Emergency?
If you notice blood in your dog’s stool, but he’s acting normal, this isn’t typically a life-threatening situation. But you should still contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. It could still be a sign of a serious underlying health condition that shouldn’t be put off.
While bloody stool usually isn’t an emergency situation, some signs accompanying blood in your dog’s stool can be life-threatening. If your pup experiences the following symptoms, take him to your regular veterinarian or an emergency vet clinic immediately.
- Possible toxin ingestion or exposure
- Vomiting blood
- Blood in the urine
- Excessive bleeding from the anus
- Extreme lethargy
- Breathing problems
- Loss of consciousness
- Pale or white gums
Treatment & Home Remedies For Blood In A Dog’s Stool
Typically, a veterinarian will perform a series of tests, which may include a fecal examination, blood work, x-rays or ultrasound, endoscopy, colonoscopy, etc, to help determine what’s causing the bleeding. Depending on the underlying cause, your vet may recommend the following treatment or home remedies.
- IV fluids for dehydration
- Medications to treat inflammation or diarrhea
- Anti-parasite medication
- Antibiotics for infections
- Surgery for GI tract trauma, foreign body obstructions, tumors, or ulcers
- Temporarily feeding a bland diet of plain chicken and rice
- Diet change for food intolerances or allergies
- Probiotics to repair your dog’s gut health and immune system
Our Personal Experience
My Chihuahua, Cookie, was prone to constipation. She was also a very picky eater and a bit of a food thief. As she grew older, she became pickier about her food and started wanting only to eat canned food or sneak human food bits. We experimented with a few different kinds of food when trying to tempt her to eat. She experienced blood in her stool on a few occasions. She would have a loose movement with bits of bright red blood mixed in. It had a very strong odor as well. Her behavior was otherwise normal, and she was not in any visible pain.
The vet examined her regularly, and I took in a stool sample for testing. This was helpful in determining if there was any underlying serious medical issue. Her veterinarian believed the blood in her stool was due to digestive upset, picky eating habits, or possible food allergies. I worked with her vet to keep her on a diet that was mixed with kibble and wet food made for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
We stopped giving her any human foods as treats, sticking only to dog foods and treats for sensitive tummies. She had developed a taste for boiled chicken, so we would mix bits of that and plain, cooked white rice in as well, along with some pumpkin puree. This was helpful in regulating her stool and keeping her belly full without upset.
The bland diet, staying consistent, and not giving her human foods or lots of dog treats was also helpful. This was very important, both for her digestion and to keep her interested in her dog food rather than treats.– Danielle D., Canine Journal
How Pet Insurance Can Help When Problems Arise?
In many cases, bloody stool isn’t a sign of a serious condition. But it still requires costly diagnostic testing to ensure that your pup doesn’t have an underlying health condition. Unfortunately, blood in your dog’s poop can sometimes indicate a major health problem, which can result in thousands of dollars of treatment. And bloody stool is just one of the countless problems our pups can experience throughout their lives.
If you’re worried about how you’ll be able to afford these unexpected costs, you may want to consider getting pet insurance for your pup. With a pet insurance policy in place, you may be covered for a majority of vet bills, so you never have to choose between your furry friend’s health care needs and your finances.Tagged With: Gastrointestinal, Poop